Electronic devices have become such an integral part of daily life that having one run out of battery leaves most feeling panicked. Countless international travelers have suffered the same dead battery fate because they didn’t prepare for different configurations of international outlets and voltage outputs. This article explains the differences between international outlets and helps travelers purchase the proper tools before they travel.
Understanding International Outlets
International outlets have two components: voltage and pin configuration. While most travelers know there are different pin configurations, many fail to consider voltage. Luckily, most electronic appliances today are built to be compatible with all voltages. In this case, a simple international outlet converter such as eForCity or MOCREO will work. However, if there is any lingering doubt, it is definitely worth it to double check. Guessing incorrectly can lead to “fried” appliances and chargers. Voltage limits and requirements are typically listed on the physical appliance itself, or on its charger. If the appliance has a written voltage range that says ~100-240V then it is compatible everywhere. Anything else would require a converter, such as the Simran SMF-100 Voltage Converter or the BESTEK Travel Adapter.
Types of International Outlets
According to the International Trade Administration, there are currently 12 different types of outlets used around the world today. Each outlet type is assigned a letter and has a different combination of pin configuration and voltage. Below are the 12 types of international outlets plus the countries where they are found. To determine whether or not an adapter is needed search for a destination then compare your original outlet to your new outlet.
Type A: Two Pins, 100-127 V
American Samoa, Aruba, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Polynesia, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Miquelon, Nicaragua, Niger, North Mariana Island, Palau, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands, United States of America, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen.
Type B: Three Pins, 100-127 V
Type A plugs are compatible with Type B outlets
American Samoa, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Miquelon, Nicaragua, North Mariana Island, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, United States of America, Venezuela, Vietnam.
Type C: Two Pins, 220-240V
Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, French Guiana, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, North Korea, South Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Martinique, Mauritania, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Svalbard, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia.
Type D: Three Pins, 220-240V
Type C plugs are compatible with Type D outlets
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burma, Cameroon, China, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, India, Jamaica, Lebanon, Lebanon, Lesotho, Macao, Madagascar, Maldives, Monaco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Pitcairn Island, Qatar, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Type E: Three Pins, 220-240V
Type C plugs are compatible with Type E outlets.
Andorra, Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Czech Republic, Djibouti, France, French Guiana, Gabon, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Indonesia, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mali, Martinique, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, Niger, Poland, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Svalbard, Thailand, Tunisia, Vietnam
Type F: Two Pins, 220-240V
Type C and E plugs compatible with Type F outlets
Algeria, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Bulgaria, Burma, Cape Verde, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Jordan, Laos, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Monaco, Mozambique, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Vietnam.
Type G: Three Pins, 220-240V
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tanzania, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Type H: Three Pins, 220-240V
Type C plugs are compatible with Type H outlets
Barbados, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Israel, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Western Samoa.
Type I: Three Pins, 220-240V
American Samoa, Argentina, Australia, Belize, Christmas Island, Cocos Island, Cook Island, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Japan, Kiribati, Nicaragua, Norfolk Island, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.
Type J: Three Pins, 220-240V
Type C plugs are compatible with Type J outlets
Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Rwanda, Switzerland.
Type K: Three Pins, 220-240V
Type C plugs are compatible with Type K outlets
Denmark, Greenland, Guinea, Madagascar, Senegal, Sri Lanka.
Type L: Three Pins, 220-240V
Type C plugs are compatible with Type L outlets
Chile, Italy, Jordan, Libya, Uruguay.
International Outlet Adapters
The following adapters were pulled from Amazon.com. For those traveling to countries that require voltage conversion, the BESTEK and Simran voltage converters should be the converters purchased. If voltage conversion is not required, the eForCity and MOCREO adapters will be sufficient.
BESTEK Voltage Adapter: $39.99
Average: ★★★★ 1,016 Customer Reviews
The BESTEK Travel Adapter converts 220V to 110V making it the perfect voltage converter for Type A and Type B international outlet users. This is a great converter because it comes with three outlets, 4 USB charging ports, and 3 international adapters. The BESTEK Travel Adapter can be plugged into all international outlets. While this is a great all in one international adapter it does have its limitations. First, it only works travelers using 110V electronics. Second, it is a little on the pricey side. Lastly, it’s a little too bulky (1.2 pounds) for convenient travel.
Travelers from countries using type A and B converters should purchase the BESTEK voltage adapter. It will work with nearly all international outlets and offers charging ports for up to 7 devices.
Simran SMF-100 Voltage Converter: $15.99
Average: ★★★½ 283 Customer Reviews
The Simran is a great alternative to the BESTEK as an international voltage converter. Instead of just converting to 110V, the Simran will also convert from 110V to 220V making it perfect for travelers all over the world. Furthermore, it is only $15.99. While the Simran does offer dual voltage conversion, it does have some limitations. Weighing 1.4 pounds, it’s even heavier than the BESTEK adapter and doesn’t have BESTEK’s extra outlets and USB ports. The Simran also has a maximum wattage of 100W meaning it is not compatible with laptops or hair dryers. Lastly, it lacks the Type I converter that the BESTEK comes with so it does not work for as many countries.
The Simran is a great adapter for travelers from every country, not just those who use Type A or Type B international outlets. While it has limited wattage output, it is much cheaper than the BESTEK and for travelers that just need to charge their phones, the Simran converter is perfect.
eForCity Outlet Adapter: $5.99
Average: ★★★★ 2,448 Customer Reviews
The eForCity Outlet Adapter can accept every plug type except for Type I and will go into every single international outlet. At only $5.99, the eForcity is a deal that is hard to beat. Reviews do complain about the poorer manufacturing quality so we recommend packing two for international trips, just in case.
MOCREO Outlet Adapter: $15.90
Average: ★★★★ 346 Customer Reviews
The MOCREO is the upgraded version of the eForCity outlet adapter. It accepts and plugs into every type of international outlet. Furthermore, it has an additional two USB charging ports, allowing for simultaneous charging of multiple devices.
For frequent international travelers, the MOCREO is definitely recommended. The eForCity adapter may be cheaper in price, but that comes at the cost of quality. MOCREO is a higher caliber adapter and was built to last. Furthermore, it has two usb charger in addition to the outlet making it more versatile for frequent travelers who may need to charge multiple electronics at one time.
All images and outlet information are pulled directly from the International Trade Administration’s website.